Plumbing Certification: Requirements, Tuition and Jobs



Plumbers are highly trained professionals that are experts in pipe systems, sewage removal, and septic tanks. Plumbers are generally expected to have extensive field experience and pass state-approved exams to get certification or license, though standards vary by state. Although a handful attend community colleges or vocational schools, the majority receive their training through apprenticeship programs that combine classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent to be considered for these programs. 

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Educational Requirements for Plumbers

Candidates must complete between two and five years of experience through apprenticeships or training courses before getting their plumbing certification. The most comprehensive education is obtained through community colleges, technical institutions, and vocational programs. Industry-related unions, such as the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting, and Sprinkler Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada, maintain accreditation and educational standards for apprenticeship programs. Some companies that rely largely on a regular supply of qualified plumbers, such as heating and cooling contractors and fire sprinkler installers, offer non-union training courses. 

Apprenticeship programs, in addition to on-the-job training, include a yearly classroom commitment of 144 hours. Students must show that they have a thorough understanding of drafting, local safety standards, and arithmetic. In addition, aspiring plumbers must be able to securely handle materials and tools, recognize different types of pipelines, and install various plumbing fixtures. A high school diploma is required for applicants to an apprenticeship program or training course, and they may be required to pass a drug test.


Plumbers who acquire online plumbing training can operate in a number of settings, but at the beginning level, they typically repair and replace rusted underground pipes, leaking bathroom and kitchen valves, and clogged sewage and septic drains. Master plumbers, who have honed their skills over time, assist in the development of blueprints and ensure that these repairs are carried out strategically to avoid long-term system failures and, eventually, to meet modern building requirements. This breadth of competence encompasses a wide variety of disciplines. Pipefitters, for example, build and maintain vital pipelines that convey potentially dangerous or corrosive gases, acids, or chemicals in commercial and industrial environments. Steamfitters, on the other hand, are experts trained in the installation and maintenance of high-temperature, high-pressure pipes and equipment. 

Most vocational plumbing certificate programs will demand a high school graduation or GED, as well as a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better, regardless of the speciality. 

Although certificate programs vary in length, a basic two-semester vocational certificate in plumbing is the most common. Installing and repairing water pipes, sewer lines, valve assembly, and kitchen and bath fixtures are all covered in depth in most courses. Basic electrical installation and safety are covered in the top online programs, as well as the most common safety and building codes. Certificate holders are typically qualified to work for private businesses, private individuals, or public utilities. 

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Requirements for Licensing 

Plumbers are not required to have a national license. In any state, professional activity necessitates the acquisition of an official license from the proper government, which is usually the local Department of Labor and Industry. While states can provide reciprocal recognition of plumbing licenses, most municipalities require plumbers to pass a test in order to be licensed. Plumbers must renew their licenses every two years in most states. 

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For certain types of plumbing work, further speciality certification may be required. Many states have legislation requiring official accreditation for work on gas lines and water conservation. Experience and exams are required to obtain a speciality certification. State agencies or non-profit organizations administer these credentials, which must be renewed on a regular basis through continuing education courses or testing. 

Plumbers hone their abilities through a combination of hands-on experience and classroom training, which can be achieved through an apprenticeship, vocational program, or trade school. They must be skilled in their jobs and demonstrate their knowledge by passing biennial license renewal exams.

Career Outlook for Plumbers

Plumbers are qualified to inspect, troubleshoot, and repair the pipework, drains, and valves that keep our faucets and drains running smoothly. Plumbers are in high demand around the country, depending on their expertise, to work on plumbing improvements in private houses, commercial structures, and major factories. Plumbers employed almost 420,000 individuals in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the industry is predicted to grow by 12% through 2024. 

Historically, becoming a qualified plumber has been a hands-on experience. While vocational schools still prioritize on-the-job training with a plumbing apprentice and assistantship for in-training plumbers, a growing number of training courses and certifications may be completed just as successfully online. 

Those who choose to earn a plumbing certificate online should anticipate to spend roughly a year doing so. Few, if any, classes will be taken outside of the plumbing sector, as with other certificate programs. Students can expect to attend fundamental plumbing training as well as brazing, welding, and interpreting diagrams and blueprints online. Those who get a certificate will be rewarded for their efforts when they enter a job market that is hungry for their knowledge and skills. 

Job security is expected to be excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a plumber in 2014 was $50,660. Qualified plumbers will continue to be in high demand in the near future, with a total growth rate of 12% from 2014 to 2024. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between now and 2024, baby boomer retirements will create an additional 50,000 new plumbing jobs in the United States. 

An associate degree in electrical engineering or a comparable discipline can also help you advance your plumbing career. Associate degree holders are about 20% more likely to be employed than those with a vocational certificate, according to the BLS. According to a survey by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, associate degree holders earn more on average than certificate holders. When compared to their certificate-holding neighbors, persons with an associate degree are expected to earn nearly $180,000 more during their lifetime, according to the Center. 

Some licensed plumbers go on to earn a bachelor’s degree. A person with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn nearly $2.2 million over the course of their career, according to a Georgetown University analysis.

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Institutions offering Plumbing Certification

Apex Technical School is a private technical school located in Apex, 

A 600-hour plumbing technologies program at the Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center can be completed in seven months. $7,435 in net tuition.

Bergen County Technical Schools 

Future plumbers can enroll in an eight-month plumbing and heating program at Bergen County Technical Schools. $13,164 in net tuition .

Berk Trade and Business School is a private business school in Berkshire, England. 

Berk Trade and Business School has a 600-hour plumbing curriculum that takes 30 weeks to finish. $13,164 in net tuition.

Berks Career & Technology Center (Berks Career & Technology Center) 

The National Center for Construction Education and Research has accredited Berks Career & Technology Center’s plumbing and heating curriculum. 

Erwin Technical College is a technical college in Erwin, Texas. 

A plumbing technology curriculum is available at Erwin Technical College, which incorporates both classroom and hands-on experience. $4,374 in net tuition.

Fort Myers Technical College is a community college in Fort Myers, Florida. 

A plumbing curriculum at Fort Myers Technical College can be completed in ten months. $5,182 in net tuition.

Lancaster County Career and Technology Center offers a plumbing program for high school students who want to get ahead in their schooling. 

Manatee Technical College is a community college in Manatee County, Florida 

A plumbing technician curriculum at Manatee Technical College can be completed in 14 months. $5,000 in net tuition.

Technology Center of the Mid-Delta 

The Residential & Commercial Piping Systems course at Mid-Del Technology Center is 900 hours long and prepares students for an entry-level plumbing apprenticeship.$3,563 in net tuition.

Orleans Technical College is a community college in Orleans, Louisiana. 

The plumbing and heating curriculum at Orleans Technical College takes six to thirteen months to complete. You’ll design and build a bathroom as part of the program. Tuition is $20,485. 

Osceola Technical College is a community college in Osceola, Florida. 

The plumbing curriculum at Osceola Technical College can be completed in 11 months.$5,583 in net tuition.


Plumbing Jobs

Technicians in the Plumbing Industry 

Plumbing training can equip you to work as a plumbing technician, apprentice, or state-licensed plumber. You’ll work with a diverse group of clients who own commercial, industrial, and residential real estate. 

You have the necessary knowledge and skills to install and manage various types of water systems. You’re also in charge of the maintenance and installation of some fixtures, such as sinks, shower heads, and even water-using appliances. 

As a technician, you’ll be responsible for diagnosing plumbing problems and assisting consumers in making informed decisions. A plumber, for example, will attend swiftly to someone who requires rapid water heater repair. 


You can train to become a pipefitter if you wish to pursue a more specialized approach to plumbing education. 

You’re responsible for maintaining and installing piping in power and industrial plants using a number of abilities, including plumbing safety and installation procedures. As a pipefitter, you must keep track of both power generation and heating/cooling systems. You’ll also work on system installations for automated controls to keep the configurations under control. 


Steamfitters receive training that is similar to pipefitters. The only distinction is that being a qualified steamfitter necessitates specialized training. The installation of pipelines for the transfer of high-pressure gas materials is the most important aspect of this job. 

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Pipelayers are another specialized form of pipefitter. You’ll be in control of some large pipe works once you’ve completed your training. You prepare the trenches for the pipes by digging and leveling them, then laying the pipes in the trenches. Keep in mind that the pipes you’ll be dealing with transport drainage, water, gas, and sewer systems. These pipes are also composed of a variety of materials such as clay, cement, iron, and clay. 

Service Technician for Gases 

When it comes to providing gas throughout a site, a skilled gas technician will be in charge of the task. Gas technicians will be called in to repair and replace broken equipment by homeowners and business owners. You’ll use specialist equipment to look for gas leaks and, more crucially, to test the displays and other control devices. In other words, these experts are experts in gas mechanics and related systems. 

Projects Managers

Project managers are also needed in the plumbing business, as they will be in charge of supervising a group of workers. 

You may need to take a special plumbing course to master management skills if you want to improve your management skills. 

In most circumstances, a plumbing manager will be in charge of their team’s day-to-day activities. You’ll also make sure that everyone is completing their tasks properly and that the quality of their work is not compromised. Furthermore, managers receive better remuneration than average employees. 

Owner of a company 

Many plumbers go on to start their own businesses. As a business owner, you must attend further training classes in all aspects of plumbing in order to be knowledgeable and skilled in all activities. As a business owner, you bear a significant amount of responsibility for ensuring that all of your plumbers have the necessary expertise and skills to complete the work. You may also find that you need to enroll in certain business management courses to ensure that your company runs well. Finally, you’ll be in charge of overseeing all of the company’s staff while they carry out their plumbing specialties.


Plumbing Certification Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the difference between a plumbing certification and a plumbing license? 

A plumbing certification is a credential that plumbers use to prove their technical expertise and professional experience. A certification can demonstrate to potential employers and clients that you are capable of safely installing and repairing gas, waste, and water pipe systems. Following your basic plumbing certification, you can start honing your technical abilities and gaining the experience you’ll need to pursue specialty certifications that will help you progress your career. 

Is a plumbing license required in every state? 

Professional plumbers are typically required to have a state certification or license by the issuing agency in each state. Additional credentials may be required depending on the position you wish to pursue. Some states, for example, demand specialist certificates for plumbers who want to specialize in areas like commercial plumbing. To conduct specialized work, jurisdictions may also require plumbers to obtain a general contracting license. Prior to getting initial certification, find out what your state’s standards are. This will help you prepare for your desired position.

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